If you’ve been on any of my weight loss or wellness programs, you will be very aware of my love for protein-rich foods in our everyday diet.
Protein-rich foods form the basis of not only all my weight loss programs, but also all my general wellness programs, and for good reason.
The human body is made up almost entirely of protein. Muscles, nails, hair, organs, bones, not to mention essential hormones and enzymes, are all composed of significant amounts of protein. So, it makes perfect sense that in order for our body to work optimally we need to feed it protein-rich foods to support a healthy and able body.
In this 5-minute read I am going to give you a quick low-down on how to get it and how much protein-rich food is adequate to sustain the life you want.
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How Much Protein Is Enough?
Whilst recommended protein depends on your goal, be it weight loss, weight gain or just health, there are a few simple guidelines.
I suggest 1 gram of protein per kilo of body weight you are carrying. This is healthy for anyone in good health; however, if you have kidney issues running in your family or have had kidney issues in the past, I strongly encourage you to speak to your doctor first.
This looks like about 20 to 25 grams of protein with your meal. If you are new to eating more protein, this may seem an awful lot, and that is ok. Focus on small steps and increase the protein in your meal gradually.
Traditionally, we use the carbohydrate portion of our meal to dictate what the structure of our meals is, e.g. we have a sandwich, noodles, pasta. This way of eating is often something we have learned from childhood, so be kind when making the switch to protein centric meals. There are often a lot of associations and memories linked to carbohydrates and comfort, so don't be surprised if you are at first resistant. The key is to persevere consistently.
When planning your meals, start to train your brain to think about the protein source that will form the basis of your meal, then the greens, and lastly the carbohydrate portion. A great tip if you are trying to lose weight is to think of carbohydrate as your side dish or even your condiment. You can have a bit, but that is it. This way of thinking will eliminate the feeling of deprivation, but still help you achieve your goals.
Remember perfection and hitting that number is not your goal, just aim for that and you are already winning.
What Are Protein-Rich Foods?
Getting protein is easy, you just need to know where to look. I always recommend opting for natural protein-rich foods rather than supplements that can be full of artificial preservatives and fillers. This allows you to pinpoint your ingredients if you are looking to track your food with how your body and mind feel, something I strongly advocate.
Protein-rich foods include:
- Free-range eggs
- Full-fat yogurt
- Legumes such as lentils, soy, beans
- Raw nuts, especially peanuts, almonds, pistachios and cashews
- (nut butter spreads are a great addition to wholegrain toast, and you can also add them to smoothies to increase their nutritional profile)
- Wild fish, including salmon, cod, trout, barramundi, tinned tuna
- Cottage cheese
- Seeds (pepitas, sunflower, chia)
- Brussel sprouts
- Free-range chicken
- Organic, free-range meats and grass-fed meats
- Pea protein isolate
- Whey protein isolate
Be Mindful Of The Sourcing Of The Protein
Not all protein is created equal.
There are lots of protein-rich foods on the market that I absolutely do not advocate. Some protein drinks or protein-rich foods can be overly processed and stuffed with chemical fillers, flavourings, sweeteners and thickeners.
This also extends to meat. While organic meat isn't cheap, the reasoning behind choosing it is strong. Traditionally farmed meat has a very different nutritional profile to that of pasture-raised organic meats. What's more, due to our ever-growing demand for meat, meat is injected with hormones, including growth hormones and antibiotics to maintain production.
Whilst this leads to a higher yield of meat for the supermarket, we cannot ignore that the hormones and antibiotics fed to the animals are still in the meat we ingest. This can lead to a myriad of health problems, particularly hormone and gut health imbalances.
I hope this provides a bit of guidance to help you create your own health and wellness plan.
If you want to learn more about the importance of protein in your diet and how you can create a custom holistic nutrition plan, you can book a call here.
With love and wellness,